Natura 2000 Day: district president visits new Braunau-Simbach bypass river

22.05.2024, Braunau-Simbach

On 21 May 2024, leading decision-makers from Bavaria and Upper Austria were informed about progress on the construction of the new bypass river water at the VERBUND Inn power plant Braunau-Simbach as part of the Natura 2000 Day. This important nature conservation project is part of the EU-LIFE nature project “Riverscape Lower Inn”, which is redesigning and promoting the ecological development of the river landscape along the Lower Inn.

On 21 May 2024, leading decision-makers from Bavaria and Upper Austria were informed about progress on the construction of the new bypass river water at the VERBUND Inn power plant Braunau-Simbach as part of the Natura 2000 Day. This important nature conservation project is part of the EU-LIFE nature project “Riverscape Lower Inn”, which is redesigning and promoting the ecological development of the river landscape along the Lower Inn.

The joint event organised by VERBUND, the Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management and Naturium am Inn was attended by District President Rainer Haselbeck, District Administrator Raimund Kneidinger, Deputy District Administrator Edeltraud Plattner and mayors of neighbouring communities, among others.

In order to make the river passable for fish, a new bypass river with a total length of 3.1 km is being created at the Braunau-Simbach power plant, which will restore river consistency and also create new river habitat in the long term. The near-natural bypass river has a width of 5 to 8 metres and is designed in accordance with Bavarian and Austrian guidelines so that all fish fauna can swim past the power plant unimpeded. The construction work is designed to be environmentally and climate-friendly, as all of the soil excavated within the construction site is used to create new habitats. VERBUND is currently investing 8.2 million euros here. The opening is scheduled for September 2024.

Fish passes work

The fact that modern bypass rivers are accepted by fish is demonstrably shown by the comparable project “Consistency and habitat” at the Inn power plant Ering-Frauenstein. In the first year after initial operation in 2019, a total of around 40,000 fish migrated past the power plant. They belonged to 36 different fish species. The largest fish was a wels catfish with a body length of 1.2 metres. One of the highlights was the discovery of a number of specimens of the endangered Danubian longbarbel gudgeon.

VERBUND investing 400 million euros in restoration, species protection and fish migration

VERBUND is investing 400 million euros in restoration measures, fish passes and habitat improvements throughout its power plant regions in Austria and Bavaria by 2027. Of this, 180 million euros have already been spent and a further 100 million euros have already been approved or commissioned. 75% of all VERBUND run-of-river power plants already have fish passes and are therefore barrier-free. The success of the measures is reflected in the fact that 30% of the plant areas were placed under nature conservation over time after the power plants were built.

 

We answer your questions concerning the LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn project!
Rainer Tschopp
Spokesperson VERBUND